Financial Institution

The Opportunity

The 2008 Great Recession devastated the world of financial markets as well as the banking industry, causing millions of people to lose their life savings, jobs and homes. Like many other small banks, one financial institution focused on commercial and agriculture banking in western Wisconsin fell into bankruptcy, said to be the longest period of economic decline since the Great Depression. Following this period, in 2011 a new CEO was hired to turn the 130+ year company around by cleaning up significant loan related problems, and focusing on architecture and routines. The next major opportunity for improvement was addressing the culture and absence of employee engagement and trust within the organization. After recognizing and discussing the problems at hand, senior management led community bank to Sicora Consulting in efforts to improve engagement, innovation and trust.

The Solution

The CEO hired Sicora Consulting to help with the cultural issues that the bank was facing. The leadership team began doing quarterly employee engagement surveys that measured purpose, accountability, resources, trust, recognition, care, development and agility. After two surveys, they established a baseline for five key issues, leading to the solution of developing and implementing work teams. Every employee joined one of the five teams, while senior management served as liaisons to offer support or resources for the groups. The teams were then given six months to identify as many issues of concerns as they could around their topic by taking the original brainstorming ideas, refining them, then beginning to implement. By using Talent Insights and the 8 Factors of Engagement models to develop the trust for a truly transformative foundation, helped community bank employees build their culture that has allowed room for innovation, continuous engagement and growth.


The Outcome

The utilization of Dr. Sicora’s research-based models improved communication and collaboration among departments, and most importantly established a culture of innovation within the bank with an actively engaged staff that had not existed prior. Employee ownership of the process also led to a culture of continuous engagement, improvement, innovation and trust. All of this was accomplished successfully in just nine short months and has been reinforced by choices and behaviors, along with overall scores in areas such as purpose, accountability and trust improving significantly.



I believe our bank now has a sound culture of innovation. Our architecture is sound and ready for growth. Our routines are healthy today. We are honest with ourselves in that we know we have much more work to around our accounts receivable conversion. We also are proud of the work we have done over the last two years. Employees are proud to work at the bank customers are complimentary and enjoy their banking experiencing.

— Bank Team Member

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Transforming a Financial Institution

Learn how a financial institution used Talent Insights and the 8 Factors of Engagement
to build an employee-led culture of continuous engagement in just nine months.

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